Mine's Bigger: How do you measure up against Paul Allen? | Harper's Magazine

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[Washington Babylon]

Mine’s Bigger: How do you measure up against Paul Allen?


Thanks to the untold riches he made by co-inflicting the scourge that is Microsoft upon the world, Paul Allen leads a lavish lifestyle that can be imagined by few outside the House of Saud. One of his prize possessions is his 414-foot yacht, Octopus, which has recently docked in Bermuda, Barbados, South Africa, and Australia.

Allen, of course, would prefer that the Octopus’s movements were not known. A recent Wall Street Journal story said that the yacht’s “crew members have to sign confidentiality agreements” and Allen “has rarely if ever permitted the media to photograph the boat, and he prefers to sail in the world’s most remote waters.” But the_ Journal_ reported that Allen’s craft, and other 90-foot-plus yachts, are closely tracked by

an oddball collection of dockworkers, marina clerks, boat owners and other boat enthusiasts who call themselves yacht-spotters. They are to yachts what train-spotters are to trains–devoted, sometimes obsessive, trackers of the world’s biggest pleasure craft. And they are making life miserable for today’s superrich boaters.

After all, if one can’t enjoy total privacy while docking a 414-foot behemoth that also includes two helicopters and a submarine, and is crewed by Navy Seals, then what reason is there to go on living?

Go ahead–notch one up for the little guy, and spy on Allen’s yacht.

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